Denver fans brought the noise during the AFC Championship Game against New England, helping Broncos outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller bring the heat on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
With Brady forced to go a silent snap count because of the noise at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Ware and Miller were getting great jumps and seemed to anticipate the snap.
They combined for three of the four sacks on Brady and 11 of the 17 hits on him. Former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light said on a Boston radio station that center Bryan Stork was giving away the timing of the snap, which Miller said was not the case.
During their practices in Charlotte last week, the Panthers practiced with noise piped in. But CBS analyst Boomer Esiason said a neutral-site game should not present the problems the Patriots faced last week in Denver.
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“I could hardly hear myself talk into my own microphone,” said Esiason, who called the game for Westwood One’s radio broadcast. “In this game it’s not a home crowd. It’s going to be a loud crowd but it’s not going to be anything like it was last week or the week before when (Denver) played Pittsburgh.”
Panthers reserve defensive end Ryan Delaire and practice squad defensive end Rakim Cox are playing the roles of Ware and Miller during practices this week. Delaire said they’re doing their best to simulate the speed of the Broncos’ book-end speed rushers when going against Carolina offensive tackles Michael Oher and Mike Remmers.
“Those guys are really fast coming off the edge and they try to turn the edge really fast,” Delaire said. “That’s one thing we’re trying to key and do.”
Oher called Ware and Miller a “tremendous” pass-rushing tandem.
“They really get after it,” Oher said Tuesday. “We’ve been watching film on them and they do a great job at a lot of different things on their entire defense. We’re just going to have to continue to prepare well and continue to do what we’ve been doing.”